Gumout drivers eye Englishtown ATLANTA (May 16) -- Despite the fact that neither driver was able to defend their respective titles at the 19th Annual Advance Auto Parts Nationals, Gumout-sponsored pilots Cory McClenathan and Cruz Pedregon ...
Gumout drivers eye Englishtown
ATLANTA (May 16) -- Despite the fact that neither driver was able to defend their respective titles at the 19th Annual Advance Auto Parts Nationals, Gumout-sponsored pilots Cory McClenathan and Cruz Pedregon were pleased with their performance of their cars at the seventh event of the season. So pleased in fact that both men are already excited about the National Hot Rod Association's next stop in Englishtown, N.J., which begins Thursday and continues through Sunday at Old Bridge Township Raceway.
Here's a recap of each Team Gibbs driver's individual results in Atlanta as well as their thoughts on New Jersey's most historic quarter mile.
Cruz Pedregon, the driver of the Interstate Batteries Pontiac Firebird, started the weekend with a terrific qualifying session and followed it up with another solid Sunday. Pedregon posted a 4.986-second lap at 297.81 mph to grab the No. 2 qualifying position, ahead of both Winston points leader John Force and his protege Tony Pedregon.
The Southern California native then managed to beat Scott Weis in the first round of eliminations before bowing out to brother Tony in the quarterfinals.
"It's an old cliche, but in order to be the best, you have to beat the best," Pedregon said. "We were able to out-perform both John and Tony in qualifying but Tony came back and got me in eliminations. That really hurt because he's ahead of me in points and I had the chance to catch up a little bit right in front of me but couldn't quite get it done. He was certainly vulnerable that round but I give him credit, he did what it took to win."
The numbers saw Cruz post a 5.350-second lap at 213.54 mph to Tony's 5.109-second blast at 262.23 mph.
"The car got loose at mid-track and it started spinning the tires," Cruz said. "I saw Tony was pulling away and I knew I wouldn't be able to catch him so I just shut it off.
"We're progressing each race. The car seems to be getting stronger and we continue to win rounds. I've been around long enough to know that our time will come. We're running too well to not earn a win very soon. I think our qualifying session here showed that. Hopefully, I'll be able to win in Englishtown. I've won there before (in 1995) and I was the low qualifier last year and set the track's elapsed time record. We've got a lot of racing left to do this year and anything can happen. I'm not giving an inch to those Castrol cars."
Cory McClenathan, the pilot of the MBNA Top Fuel Dragster, had a weekend in Georgia that he'd just as soon forget ever happened. After a sub-par qualifying performance (4.784 seconds at 269.29 mph) that left him in the bottom half of the 16-car field in the No. 13 position, McClenathan suffered a mechanical failure on Race Day that forced him to surrender his first round run against Tony Schumacher.
"The oil pressure line came off just as we got set to go," McClenathan said. "It was unsafe to even attempt to do anything so I had to shut the car off. The frustration absolutely reached an all-time high on the starting line but there was nothing we could do. It's not worth being stupid and risking the chance of someone getting hurt.
"For whatever reason, this just wasn't our day or even our weekend for that matter. Nothing went right today and I never felt like things were exactly right since we got here.
"I'm excited about E-Town. We reached the finals there last year so I know we can get the job done at that track. It's a real horsepower monster. You can throw everything at it and the track will hold it. I'm predicting big numbers in both the top speed and the elapsed time categories. I know we'll be after another trophy and we'll do whatever we need to do to win another race for Gumout and MBNA."